KR100918130B1 - Mpeg-4 remote communication device - Google Patents

Mpeg-4 remote communication device Download PDF

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Publication number
KR100918130B1
KR100918130B1 KR1020047001930A KR20047001930A KR100918130B1 KR 100918130 B1 KR100918130 B1 KR 100918130B1 KR 1020047001930 A KR1020047001930 A KR 1020047001930A KR 20047001930 A KR20047001930 A KR 20047001930A KR 100918130 B1 KR100918130 B1 KR 100918130B1
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South Korea
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data
data signal
mpeg
multimedia
rcu
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KR1020047001930A
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Korean (ko)
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KR20040022240A (en
Inventor
마그디 메제이드
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톰슨 라이센싱
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Priority to US31104401P priority Critical
Priority to US60/311,044 priority
Application filed by 톰슨 라이센싱 filed Critical 톰슨 라이센싱
Priority to PCT/EP2002/008833 priority patent/WO2003015412A1/en
Publication of KR20040022240A publication Critical patent/KR20040022240A/en
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    • H04N7/163Authorising the user terminal, e.g. by paying; Registering the use of a subscription channel, e.g. billing by receiver means only
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    • H04N21/436Interfacing a local distribution network, e.g. communicating with another STB or one or more peripheral devices inside the home
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    • H04N21/43637Adapting the video or multiplex stream to a specific local network, e.g. a IEEE 1394 or Bluetooth® network involving a wireless protocol, e.g. Bluetooth, RF or wireless LAN [IEEE 802.11]
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Abstract

The present invention proposes an MPEG-4 based multimedia system in connection with a service provider and a telecommunication device therefor. Telecommunications units based on interactive content use data encoded in MPEG-4 format to simplify and reduce the number of steps and buttons required to receive interactive services. Also disclosed is a new method for processing data at the service provider side. Furthermore, an improved method of exchanging data between a service provider (broadcaster, cable provider) and a customer (viewer) is presented. Furthermore, it is disclosed how digital equipment (servers, set-top boxes, remote control units and screens) related to data processing can be optimized for the task of controlling the available channel bandwidth and for displaying the data.

Description

MPE-4 Remote Communication Unit {MPEG-4 REMOTE COMMUNICATION DEVICE}

This application is based on a claim of priority in US Provisional Application No. 60 / 311,044, filed August 8, 2001.

The present invention relates to a multimedia system, and more particularly to an MPEG-4 based multimedia system, which system relates to a service provider and a content based telecommunication device for itself.

It is well known that multimedia devices are versatile in their ability to process various types of information, such as audio programming, television programming, movies, computer games and internet communications, and to provide the processed information to a user. However, the processed information can be of interest only to the user, for example, the user who has chosen the programming. The remaining users present at the time the processed information is presented (eg displayed or output through the audio system) may prefer other programming, or may wish to obtain more information about a particular aspect of the current programming, for example. It is also well known that control of a multimedia device can be difficult. Most of today's remote control units play a passive role, such as sending one-way commands to, for example, a television receiver, so that they are relatively primitive between viewers and devices. Corresponds to the interface. Typical multimedia applications include interactive services that require multiple buttons on a remote control unit. This is cumbersome and confusing because, above all, the space on the surface of the device for buttons and keypads is limited. As the number of multimedia devices increases in the future, the number of corresponding functions also increases, making the situation worse.

As a result, many companies have come up with new solutions to meet their attempts to control modern multimedia equipment. One such solution is the PRONTO intelligent remote control unit manufactured by Philips , headquartered in The Netherlands. The remote control unit is a general-purpose learning device, which includes a large touch-screen liquid crystal display (LCD), a virtual keyboard displayed on the LCD, and a two-way IR transceiver. Infrared transceivers are used to learn codes from other remote control units (RCUs). The Philips remote control unit is considered an intelligent device because its number of virtual buttons is adaptive depending on the situation. As a result, the user sees only what he needs to see in order to perform the desired function.

Headquartered in South Korea, Samsung TM has gone one step further and created a two-way remote control unit called IDEO TM with a small high-resolution LCD screen. The Samsung remote control unit makes it possible to receive television signals and watch them on screen in addition to the general functions of the remote control unit. Thus, while watching one program on a television, the user can scan, preview, watch or select other programs and channels. It should be noted that the source of the video signal shown on the remote control unit screen is an external device such as a transmitter included in a television receiver, for example, and this arrangement requires a second tuner. However, virtual buttons are created internally by appropriate software and / or hardware means.

US Pat. Nos. 6,671,225, 5,861,906 and 5,657,072 disclose bidirectional transmission of digital information between a media server and a set-top box (STB) connected to a television receiver.

US Pat. No. 6,002,450 discloses a two-way remote control device including an LCD screen that provides a visual display of selected information such as advertisements.

U. S. Patent No. 6,020, 881 discloses a remote control unit having a graphical user interface and user selectable objects.

U. S. Patent No. 6,070, 167 discloses a hierarchical system for attaching object-based audiovisual tags to images, especially for manipulation.

Allport US Pat. No. 6,097,441 discloses a system that uses two or more screens that are cooperating but physically independent. This patent looks similar in some ways to the Samsung TM remote control device described above.

US Patent No. 6,127,941 to Van Ryzin discloses a two-way wireless remote control unit that includes a graphical user interface for controlling various multimedia devices. This and the device of Philips described above have similar remote control features but do not operate in the same way for signal transmission.

U. S. Patent No. 6,130, 726 discloses a remote control device comprising a screen for showing a program guide.

US application publication US2002 / 0016766 discloses bidirectional distribution of digital content through a service provider.

As the technology rapidly develops, there is a need to further improve both the ability to access multimedia content using the new technology and the concept of remote control mentioned above. The present invention is based on two different data encoding formats, namely the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 multimedia standards of the Moving Pictures Expert Group. MPEG-4 is a content-based encoding / decoding process and is not block-oriented like MPEG-2. Thus, MPEG-4 makes it possible to interact with the objects that make up an audiovisual scene. Such objects may be audio, visual, and audiovisual objects, which may be natural or synthesized, that is, recorded using a camera, microphone, or computer generated. MPEG-4 data streams include object and scene descriptors that provide configuration and other information about streams associated with interactive audiovisual objects. Thus, the MPEG-4 standard enables the enhancement of client-server interaction, which can be realized in the form of downstream and return stream communication channels. For example in the case of e-commerce or interactive television, this enhanced interaction is useful because the downstream data stream may require information to be sent from the receiver towards the upstream of the transmitter.

The MPEG-4 data stream may be embedded and transmitted in the MPEG-2 data stream and then separated from the MPEG-2 data stream at the receiver side.

The present invention utilizes the aforementioned features of two data encoding formats, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, and discloses an interactive remote communication unit having an MPEG-4 decoder. The disclosed interactive telecommunications unit simplifies and reduces the number of steps for receiving an interactive service. Since a large number of buttons can be confusing to the user, this remote communication unit also reduces the number of buttons needed for remote operation. The invention also discloses new methods for data processing at the provider side.                 

Today's interactive digital television services are seen as an important factor in introducing digital television services and encouraging customers to invest in new digital television products. The present invention discloses an improved way of exchanging data between a customer (viewer) and a service provider such as, for example, a broadcast station, a cable company and an internet service provider. The invention also relates to how digital equipment (servers, set-top boxes, telecommunications units and screens) associated with data processing can be changed to optimize the task of controlling available channel bandwidth and display of data. Discloses.

1 illustrates a configuration of a service provider for interactive digital television service.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating how a service provider prepares additional titles and optional audiovisual objects for different programs.

3 is a block diagram showing a customer side in FIG.

4 is a flow chart of a processing algorithm for the set top box of FIG.

5 illustrates an exemplary multimedia system.

6 is a block diagram of the telecommunications unit of FIG. 5;

7 is a block diagram of the service provider of FIG. 2 using statistical information collection.

8 is a flow chart related to the operation of the telecommunications unit of FIGS. 5 and 6.

 In FIG. 1, the service provider 10 for interactive digital television service often has at least two kinds of data available to (N) customers 12, 14, 16 and 18. The data of the main program, for example a movie, contains the main events. Additional interactive audiovisual information, such as short films, associated with the main program are referred to herein as "additional audiovisual objects" or simply "additional objects." Because channel bandwidth is limited, service providers must optimize the amount of data transmitted per channel. Since the additional object contains optional information, only some of the customers 12, 14, 16 and 18 may be interested in receiving the additional object. Thus, if additional objects are always sent, this would be a waste of channel capacity.

In order to solve this problem, the invention specifically discloses that the service provider 10 first transmits a "title" of additional objects to all customers and then only the actual objects to interested customers. . In the present invention, the title is defined as a short text or an icon indicating the availability of additional objects. The service provider 10 sends this title along with its corresponding object code, i.e. the code for additional objects that the customers 12, 14, 16 and 18 can download. The title and subsequent additional objects are received and processed by the receiving device, which in the present invention is typically an integrated receiver-decoder set top box, or simply STB (1) to STB (N) 20, 22, 24 and 26).

Another problem is that customers face large amounts of data and options that can be difficult to manage. For example, if additional objects are displayed simultaneously on the same television screen with the main program, the additional objects may cover part of the main image. If more people are watching the main program and multiple displays are overlaid on the main image, further problems may arise. Also, not all viewers generally want to watch additional objects.

To solve this problem, the bidirectional RCUs 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, with their respective screens 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56 and 58, which can in particular be touchscreen screens, for example. , 38, 40 and 42 are disclosed together with bidirectional communication between the STB and the RCU. When the STBs 20, 22, 24, and 26 receive a program that includes a title, the STBs 20, 22, 24, and 26 separate the title from the main program and assign the title to each RCU 28, 30, 32. , 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42). This title is transmitted to the RCU via a communication medium, such as a wired connection (eg, a bus or network connection) or a wireless connection (eg, an RF or infrared wireless connection, such as a wireless network or home network connection), and the transceiver 88 shown in FIG. 3. Is received via a signal receiving means included in the RCU. The RCUs 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42 then display the titles on their respective screens 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56 and 58, The title does not appear on the television screen. Touching the title once appearing on the touchscreen display or activating an appropriate button or switch on the RCU, for example, is sufficient to activate message transmission to each STB to order additional objects. This means that each RCU 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42 may be the same or different from the first medium used to receive the title from the STB, eg, wired or wireless second. Through the transmission medium, this is accomplished by sending the message back to each STB 20, 22, 24 and 26. For example, the message may be sent in both directions via a wireless RF communication channel, or instead, the subject may be sent to the RCU via an RF communication channel (or a wired home network connection) and the message may be sent to the RCU via an infrared wireless protocol. Can be sent from the STB. The transmission from the RCU to the STB is via a transmission means that may be included in the transceiver 88 shown in FIG. 3, for example. Transmitting means referred to herein is also considered to include part of a touchscreen display or RCU control system that, when activated by a user, generates or transmits such a message from the RCU to the STB when activated by the user. May be This message from the RCU to the STB is referred to herein as a "title request message." The STBs 20, 22, 24 and 26 process the "Title Request Message" and send the code of the desired object back to the service provider 10 via the return channel. The return channel may or may not be the same medium as the downstream channel. For example, the downstream channel may be a satellite channel and the return channel may be a satellite channel, an internet channel, a cable channel, or the like.

As shown in FIG. 1, a customer may have one or more RCUs, for example customer 1 may have three RCUs, specifically RCU (1-1) 28, RCU (1-2) 30. And an RCU (1-3) 32. As will be discussed later in accordance with aspects of the present invention, all RCUs 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 and 42 have their own unique identification codes and each of these STBs 20, 22 , 24 and 26). As a result, additional objects may be displayed on the RCU (1-1) 28, but the RCU (1-2) 30 ignores the objects completely. If more than one RCU is available to the customer, these RCUs also communicate with each other to prevent data from being sent to each STB 20, 22, 24, and 26 at the same time.

2 is a block diagram illustrating how a service provider prepares titles and optional additional audiovisual objects of different programs. Current main programs such as movie A and movie B are stored in MPEG-2 storage medium 60, and live program C and live program D are stored in live program digital data source section 62. Is provided. For simplicity of explanation, it is assumed that only the movie A and the live program D are provided with one additional object each, but a number of additional objects may be provided for any and all items. Self-explanatory

The uncompressed audiovisual digital signal of the main live program D is connected to an encoder which encodes data in a manner known in the art according to a first format, such as, for example, MPEG-2 encoder 64, thereby Is processed. The compressed and MPEG-2 packetized stream is applied to a multiplexer 66 at the output of the MPEG-2 encoder 64. Similarly, the MPEG-2 packetized stream of movie A is sent directly from MPEG-2 storage medium 60 to multiplexer 66, which is already used by MPEG A standard to reduce memory space. Is stored in compressed and encoded form. Thus, the features for handling and processing MPEG-2 related signals described above constitute an exemplary embodiment for providing or generating one or more main events or programs in the form of a main data stream.

The title developer 68 creates a title for additional objects to be provided with the main programs A and D. The service provider 10 distributes the generated title to all the customers ranging from the customer (1) 12 to the customer (N) 18. These titles are generated by an encoder that encodes the data in a second format, for example in the form encoded by the MPEG-4 standard in title developer 68 using software tools known to those skilled in the art. According to an exemplary embodiment, the title includes not only a short description of the object to be downloaded, but also an identification code of the object. The generated title is applied to the multiplexer 66 as an MPEG-4 data stream and then inserted therein, for example, into the corresponding MPEG-2 packetized streams of the movie A and the live program D. The features for handling and processing MPEG-4 related signals described above constitute an exemplary embodiment for generating or providing a data stream appended to the main data stream, i.e., an additional data stream.

Finally, some of the private data of the service provider may be authorized to the multiplexer 66. The service provider 10 determines, among other things, the content of private data that may include the address of the server 72. As will be discussed later, the STBs 20, 22, 24, and 26 can use these addresses to return messages to the server 72 over the return channel. Thus, the resulting data stream at the output of the multiplexer 66 is, for example, the movie (A), the title of the movie (A) inserted into the MPEG-4 standard, the live program (D), inserted into the MPEG-4 standard. An MPEG-2 transport stream that may contain the title of the live program D and private data from the service provider 10.

Further, while the event corresponding to the object is still being transmitted, for example, as long as the movie A is transmitted, the service provider 10 preferably transmits only the title of the object. This is because the service provider 10 launches a new title and new object for subsequent events.

The data stream is connected to the transmitter 74 where it is modulated and sent to the customers 12, 14, 16 and 18. Prior to the actual data transfer, some modulation and signal processing steps are required that are not relevant to the present invention and will not be described herein any further except those listed below. The modulation and signal processing steps for transmission may include the signal being transmitted via satellite, cable or terrestrial, for example the DVB-S (Satellite Digital Video Broadcasting) standard, the DVB-C (Cable Digital Video Broadcasting) standard, DVB-T It will depend on whether the signal is transmitted in accordance with the latest technical standards such as the Terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting standard, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standard and the Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) standard.

In Fig. 3, the customer 12, 14, 16, and 18 side of Fig. 2, for example, STB (1) 20 and RCU (1-1) 28, RCU (1-2) 30 and RCU ( A customer (1) 12 is shown having three RCUs (1-3) (32). Each of the RCUs 28, 30, and 32 each has its own identification code stored in its own memory. STB (1) 20, RCU (1-1) 28 and / or RCU (1-2) 30 and RCU (1-3) 32 together form a multimedia system, where RCU ( Three identification codes of 28, 30 and 32 are known and stored in the memory 80 of the STB (1) 20. As used herein, a telecommunications unit, or RCU, is contemplated as including various forms and functions. The RCU may provide communication with the service provider via the STB, for example for interactive services, such that the STB may connect the RCU with the service provider. The RCU may display content received from the STB in the form of, for example, MPEG-4 data separated by the STB from the MPEG-2 / MPEG-4 combined data stream received by the STB. The RCU may control the STB, for example by providing control functions typically provided in remote control. The RCU may provide both interaction and STB control, or may provide minimal or no STB control at the transparent level that the user of the RCU may not receive or transmit information over the STB. Can be. The RCU may be a handheld device similar to, for example, a conventional remote control unit or a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), or may be a larger device with a larger screen, for example similar to a laptop computer.

Referring again to FIG. 3, in STB (1) 20, the received and demodulated signal is an MPEG-2 data stream, which is applied to the input of a demultiplexer 74. An example data stream is, as mentioned above, for example a movie (A), the title of a movie (A) inserted in the MPEG-4 standard, a live program (D), a live program (D) inserted in the MPEG-4 standard. The title and the private data of the service provider 10.

For the following discussion, it is assumed that the viewer for the STB (1) 20 has chosen to watch the movie (A). As a result, the demultiplexer 74 demultiplexes the audio and video packetized streams of the movie A and ignores the streams of the live program D. The output of the demultiplexer 74 is applied to an MPEG-2 decoder 76, which decodes the signal into corresponding audio and video signals so that the movie A is a color television (CTV; not shown in FIG. 3). ) The demultiplexer 74 also detects and extracts data streams inserted into the MPEG-4 standard from MPEG-2 data streams. In particular, the MPEG-4 data stream contains the title of additional objects related to the movie A. At this point, and prior to sending MPEG-4 data to the RCUs 28, 30, and 32, the microcontroller 78 creates a table referred to herein as an "additional object table." do. This table provides the information needed to handle the requested object in an appropriate interactive manner between the viewer and the service provider 10.

The "additional object table" may include the following data.

1-object identification code sent by the service provider with a title corresponding to that object.

2-identification code of the movie (A) or event contained in the MPEG-2 transport stream.

3-identification code of the current program (channel) contained in an MPEG-2 transport stream.

4-Address information about where to send messages back to the service provider via the return channel. This address may be included in private data or service information provided by the service provider.                 

5-RCU identification code of the viewer of interest. This is not known at this time.

All information except the RCU identification code is known and can be easily stored in the "additional object table" in the memory 80 of the STB (1) 20. Under the control of the microcontroller 78, the three identification codes of the available RCUs and the title of the separate MPEG-4 standard bear all the remote control units RCU (1-1) 28, RCU (through the RF-transceiver 82). 1-2) 30 and to the RCU 1-3. RCUs that have received their unique identification code and are identified here, RCU (1-1) 28, RCU (1-2) 30 and RCU (1-3) 32, have their respective microcontrollers (Not shown in FIG. 3) and the respective MPEG-4 decoder 84 are used to decode the message. The RCUs 28, 30, and 32 also store the received object identification codes and display the titles on their respective touchscreen screens 86. Thus, the viewer can watch the movie A on the CTV, and see the title on his RCU screen 86, the received title about the additional object of the movie A.

Suppose that other viewers are not interested, whereas only viewers with RCU (1-1) 28 select the displayed title by touch pressing on the title on screen 86. According to an aspect of the present invention, the "title request message" is generated only by the RCU of the viewer of interest, here the RCU (1-1) 28. This "Title Request Message" includes the object identification code of the selected title and the identification code of the RCU (1-1) 28. The RCU sends a "Title Request Message" via its RF-receiver 88 to the RF-receiver 82 of the STB 1, 20. The microcontroller 78 of the STB (1) 20, with the aid of the received object identification code, recognizes the "additional object table" and appends the received RCU identification code to the table, with the desired object Add exactly to the same group of codes for.

The "side object table" is now complete. The microcontroller 78 then compares the code of the event received with the current movie A in the MPEG-2 transport stream with the code of the movie A present in the "Additional Object Table". If movie A is still the received event, both codes are the same. The microcontroller 78 then uses the modem 90 to send an "object request message" to the service provider 10 via the Internet or another return channel, such as the same medium as the downstream channel.

As described above, the server address of the service provider 10 is included in private data. An "object request message" includes an object identification code and a set-top address, such as an internet address.

Since the data exchange between the RCU and the STB takes place locally, i.e., at home, the transmission protocol can be freely determined by the manufacturer of the STB 1, 20. Protocols similar to conventional remote control protocols may be used for example for control information or the like, or other protocols such as high speed data network communication protocols may be used for program content and / or control information, both of which are possible. In addition to the exemplary embodiments described herein, using wireless RF communication between the RCU and STU, wired communication may be used instead of or in conjunction with wireless communication. Using a network protocol, in addition to the communication between the STB and the RCU, the RCU and the STB can also communicate with other multimedia devices such as audio systems, video program sources (VCR, DVD, etc.). On the other hand, the transport protocol used between the STB and the service provider 10 is determined by the medium used for the return channel, which is outside the scope of the present invention.

Of course, other viewers, for example, the viewer with the RCU (3-2) 38 on the customer 3 side and the viewer with the RCU (N-2) 42 on the customer (N) side also receive the same object. You may be interested in On the service provider 10 side (see FIG. 2), the object code and addresses of all viewers of interest are collected and processed at the server 72. The server 72 fetches the necessary object from the MPEG-4 storage medium 70 by the received object code. In the MPEG-4 storage medium 70, such data is stored in a form encoded in the MPEG-4 standard in order to reduce memory space. The server 72 transmits the object including the identification code to the customer through the downstream channel.

It should be noted that users of the various RCUs can see the object in a "time shift mode". Assume at least two RCUs (A) and RCUs (B) communicate with the same STB. The STB sends titles to both RCU (A) and RCU (B), which titles are displayed simultaneously on the RCU screens of RCU (A) and RCU (B). A viewer with an RCU (A) may, for example, select (press) the title on the screen of the RCU (A) at 10 o'clock, and receive an object at 10:01 and begin viewing the requested object. The viewer with the RCU (B) may select (press) the same title on the screen of the RCU (B) at 10:05, and receive the same object at 10:06 and begin viewing the requested object. Furthermore, suppose that the duration of the selected object is longer than 5 minutes, which is the time difference between the times of starting to watch the same object in each RCU. In this case, the viewer with the RCU (B) will see the object in the time shift mode compared to the viewer of the RCU (A).

In FIG. 3, the microcontroller 78 of the STB 1 (20) compares the received MPEG-4 object code with the object code in the "Additional Object Table" to identify the viewer's corresponding RCU, here the RCU. (1-1) The identification code of (28) is obtained. The microcontroller 78 then sends the RCU identification code and the actual object to the RCU via the RF transceiver 82. Since only the identification code of the RCU (1-1) 28 matches the received identification code, the RCU (1-2) 30 and the RCU (1-3) 32 ignore the received message. The RCU (1-1) 28 decodes the object associated with the movie A and displays it on its screen 86. The object displayed is related to the movie A displayed on the CTV.

Thus, from the above, it is evident that all viewers receive a small amount of additional data, i.e. titles, at the beginning of a new offer from the service provider 10. Thereafter, only interested viewers receive a large amount of additional data of the real object, which may be a video signal containing sound, such as a short film. On the other hand, if a second tuner is required, such as in the case of picture-in-picture, commonly known as PIP, a movie (A) on a CTV without any disturbance by other windows covering the main picture, ) Is screened. As shown in Fig. 2, since the title of the additional object is inserted into the data stream of the movie A, when the movie A ends, the transmission of the title corresponding thereto also ends.

At the end of movie A, if the transmission of the title stops, the customer is in one of the following situations.

A) Indifferent viewers who simply ignore the displayed title or have already deleted it. These viewers are not affected by the end of the movie.

B) Viewers who have already downloaded the desired object. Such viewers are also unaffected.

C) The viewer who is downloading the object. In this embodiment, the server 72 of the service provider 10 continues to transmit all of the objects, so such a user is also unaffected.

D) The viewer who requested the object after the movie ends. When such a user wants to download an object by clicking on a title, a "title request message" is generated and transmitted to the STB 1, 20 as described above. The microcontroller 78 checks the current state of the movie A. The state may be either "event currently in progress" or "event has already ended". The information regarding the state can be determined by comparing the corresponding data in the MPEG-2 transport stream with the event code of the movie A stored in the " additional object table ". When STB (1) 20 compares these two codes, these codes will not be the same and the current event status will be "The event has already ended." However, this state only occurs if the viewer does not change the program while watching the movie. Therefore, it is essential to check the state of the current program. The microcontroller 78 compares the current program code with the program code stored in the "additional object table". If the viewer did not change the program, the two codes would be the same. The result of this comparison is that the movie is clearly over.

As a result, the microcontroller 78 returns a "unavailable message" to the corresponding RCU, which is displayed on its screen 86. The "unavailable message" is useful because it informs the viewer that the displayed title is unnecessary, i.e., it is no longer needed and should be deleted.

Since the number of remaining displayed titles can increase over time, it will be helpful to the viewer if the deletion of unnecessary titles is more efficient and automatic. It is therefore desirable that the deletion of the title be achieved in one or more of the following possible ways.

1) A viewer can delete a title at any time by highlighting the title in the usual manner and selecting Delete from the menu.

2) The viewer may delete the title after receiving the "not available message" as described above.

3) The viewer can delete all unnecessary titles by selecting the "display refresh" option in the menu. The screen update command automatically generates a "Title Request Message" for all displayed titles. All "Title Request Messages" are successively sent to STB 1 (20) and checked for their availability. As a result, the STB microcontroller 78 sends a delete command to the RCU. This automatically deletes all unnecessary titles sequentially.

4) Fully automatic deletion of unnecessary titles can be achieved in such a way that the "update screen" command is automatically activated whenever the user presses a title of interest.                 

5) The viewer may have changed the program before pressing the displayed title, just as any other program is selected even if the event movie A has not yet finished. In the event of such an event, the RCU generates a "Title Request Message" and sends it to the STB 1, 20. The STB (1) 20 compares the current event code (not the movie A) with the movie A code in the "additional object table", where the two codes are not identical. If this happens, the microcontroller 78 compares the current program code with the program code in the "additional object table". Since the viewer changed the program, the codes will not be the same. In this case, the microcontroller 78 sends a message, "Do you want to switch back to the desired program (Yes / No)?" Which will be displayed on the screen 86 of the RCU. If the viewer selects "Yes", the STB 1, 20 automatically switches to the program of the movie A. FIG. This process is possible because the program code is stored in the "side object table" as described above. The microcontroller 78 then checks the current event status to see if movie A is still playing. If the two codes are the same, microcontroller 78 sends the desired object code and STB (1) 20 address to service provider 10. If the program codes are different, a "not available" message is sent to the corresponding RCU. On the other hand, when the viewer selects "no", the STB 1, 20 ignores the "title request message".

The processing algorithm of the STB is shown in the flow chart of FIG. 4 includes only the main steps necessary to understand aspects of the present invention.

Beginning at STB block 400, a determination is made as to whether a transceiver interrupt exists at 402. If the decision is no, then a determination is made as to whether there is a multiplexer or modem interrupt at 404. If no, go back to 402. If yes, a determination is made at 406 as to whether it is an MPEG-4 title or object. If it is an object, the object is identified at 408, the RCU identification code is obtained from the supplementary object table at 410, the RCU identification code is passed at 412, the object identification code is passed at 414, and the object is passed to the RCU at 416. After that, the step returns to 402.

If it is determined at 406 that the data is an MPEG-4 title, then at 418 an additional object table is created, at 420 all RCU identification codes are passed, at 422 after the title and object code are passed, the step returns to 402. .

If a determination of "yes" is made at 402, i.e. if there is a transceiver interrupt, a determination is made at 424 whether it is an internal or external object. If it is determined that the data is an internal object, non-MPEG data is decoded at 426, and after the internal object subroutine begins at 428, the step returns to 402.

If it is determined at 424 that the data is an external object, at 430 a title request message is provided, at 432 an RCU identification code is added to the object property list, and at 434 a determination is made as to whether the event codes are the same. . If yes, then after step 436, the object request message is delivered to the service provider, the step returns to 402.                 

If a determination of "no" is made at 434, that is, the event codes are not the same, a determination is made at 438 as to whether the program code is the same. If yes, then the step returns to 402 after the " not available " message is sent to the RCU at 440.

If a determination of "no" is made at 438, i.e. the program code is not identical, a message at 442 is sent to the RCU, "Do you want to switch to the desired program (yes / no)?" Based on the response, a decision is made at 444. If the answer is no, then at 446 the title request message is ignored, and the step returns to 402. If the response returned is yes, then a transition is made at 448 to determine at 450 whether the event code is the same. If a determination of “yes” is made at 450, then after step 452, the object request message is sent to the service provider, the step returns to 402. If a "no" decision is made that the event codes are not the same, then the step returns to 402 after the "not available" message is sent at 454.

The system of FIG. 5 includes a bidirectional RCU 104 with a CTV set 100, an STB 102 and the Internet used as a return channel. Thus, STB 102 is connected to an Internet site via modem 106. The RCU 104 receives an RF-transceiver with an antenna for transmitting RF signals to the STB 102 and performing appropriate processing operations for receiving RF signals from the STB 102 in a manner known in the art. Include. The RCU 104 and STB 102 may also include an infrared transmitter / transceiver (not shown) in place of the above-described RF transceiver for wireless communication between the RCU and the STB, in a manner known in the art. . Alternatively, the STB and RCU can be connected via and communicate via a wired or wireless network to which other devices, such as one or more home audio systems, personal computers, display devices, DVD players, etc., are connected. . As also described above, the system may include a plurality of RCUs capable of communicating between the STB, the service provider, and each other via one or more of the aforementioned communication media.

The RCU 104 is also equipped with a touchscreen graphical user interface, such as an LCD 110 suitable for displaying video, for example. In one aspect of operation, RCU 104 operates in a conventional manner. That is, the displayed data represents commands issued by the user to control various functions by using internally generated virtual buttons / icons displayed on the touch screen screen. The STB 102 includes a second RF-transceiver 112 with an antenna. The second RF-receiver 112 is substantially the same as the first RF-receiver 108 of the RCU 104 and performs the same function of transmitting and receiving signals carrying information.

As can be seen on screen 110 of RCU 104, there are any number of titles in addition to the internally generated icons, which in the figure are title-1, title-2 and title-3. It is indicated by. All or part of the title may be related to the current event, and the rest may be unnecessary. The user can interactively download the corresponding object by pressing the title on the touch screen screen. As a result, as shown in title-1 of FIG. 5, the selected title may be highlighted.                 

6 is a simplified block diagram illustrating signal processing inside the RCU 104 in accordance with aspects of the present invention. It will be appreciated that other various components are included in the RCU to perform other operations. However, since it is not essential to the understanding of the present invention, the illustration of these components is omitted for simplicity. It should also be noted that the IR transceiver in the RCU and the IR transceiver in the STB are optional and may be eliminated if the RF transceivers 108 and 112 are used to convey conventional control commands. Alternatively, if the IR transceiver is also used to transmit MPEG data, the RF transceiver can be eliminated.

In FIG. 6, the received and demodulated MPEG-4 data stream at the output of the RF-receiver is applied to the microcontroller 114 and the MPEG-4 decoder 116. The decoding process requires memory 118 for data storage. The decoded MPEG-4 digital audio and digital video signals are further processed in the audio-video processing circuit 120 according to methods known in the art, which also includes an LCD touch screen display 122 and a loudspeaker. Interface 124 (which may be used when screen 122 displays the requested video object) functions in a manner known in the art. In addition, the RCU 104 receives and decodes non-MPEG data from the STB 102.

To date, object request messages and the actual additional objects are mainly transmitted, for example via the Internet. The advantage of using the Internet as a return channel is that it can reduce the amount of data payload on the primary transport channel, such as a satellite channel. The disadvantage of this approach is that additional information must be delivered as many times as the number of interested customers. Therefore, considering return channels other than the Internet is also an aspect of the present invention.

The return channel may be the same medium as the downstream channel, for example using cable, satellite or terrestrial channels. The channel is defined in the standards mentioned above. If the service provider uses the same medium for the downstream and return streams, the amount of main data and additional data should be optimized for that particular return channel. According to an aspect of the invention, the title of the additional object is transmitted in the same manner independent of the medium of the return channel, ie the title is in MPEG-4 format in the data stream of the main program, packetized in MPEG-2 format. Is inserted as encoded data. However, object codes desired by different customers are returned to the service provider via the same medium as the downstream data or through any other suitable return channel.

At the service provider side, the received messages are continuously sorted and individually calculated for all object codes, so that the statistical distribution of customer requests is calculated. The results show how many customers are interested in which objects. Then, prior to sending the actual additional object, the result is used by the statistical multiplexor 66 shown in FIG. While an exemplary embodiment uses a statistical multiplexer, it will be appreciated that there are other equivalent ways that are commonly available, such as equivalent ways of developing a statistical distribution in software of the statistical multiplexer 66 or other equivalent device. . As a result, the more customers interested in receiving one of the additional audiovisual objects, the more data space is reserved for that particular object. In addition, the statistical classification of the input message is valuable information about the viewer's current interest, and this classification is performed by the server 128. With the help of this information, service providers can improve the quality of additional objects and reduce / increase the bandwidth used. In this embodiment, bidirectional communication is performed by the transmitter / receiver 130 using the downstream channel for the return channel. Except for the statistics gathering function shown in FIG. 7, FIG. 7 includes many of the same components as in FIG. 2, which are referred to by the same numbers as in FIG.

The processing algorithm of the RCU 800 is shown in the flowchart of FIG. 8. The flowchart only illustrates the functions necessary to understand aspects of the present invention.

The microcontroller 114 of FIG. 6 retrieves an input signal of the touch screen screen 122 of FIG. 6. When the viewer presses an object on the screen at 802, the microcontroller 114 looks for the object and identifies it at 804. At 806, there are two possibilities that an object can be internal or external. The internal object is a factory-set and is independent of the title provided by the service provider 10. Such internal objects are used in a manner known in the art, for example, to control the basic functions of a multimedia device such as loudness or channel selection, which will not be described further herein. . In the event of such an event, non-MPEG data is decoded at 808 and exits to an internal object subroutine at 810.

The external object is the title received from the service provider 10. If the displayed title is pressed on the touchscreen screen at 802, the microcontroller 114 generates and sends a "Title Request Message" at 812, and at 814 the message is sent to the STB, where the STB is the object of the desired object. The code is stored in memory 118 of FIG. In addition, at 818 the microcontroller 114 sets the bit designated by the "wait-for-object" flag in a register (not shown). If the flag is set, the microcontroller 114 knows that the viewer has requested an object from the service provider 10, and the step returns to 802.

When the STB sends a message to the RCU 800, the transceiver 108 of FIG. 6 at 120 transmits an interrupt signal to the microcontroller 114 of the RCU 800. At 820 the microcontroller 114 checks whether the message includes its RCU identification code prior to proceeding with the decoding process. If it is another identification code, the message is ignored at 822 and step returns to 802. If the identification code is correct, it is checked at 824 for a "unavailable" message. If the message exists, it enters the "Not Available" subroutine at 826.

If there is no "available" message, then at 828 it is checked for a "switch back" message. If the message is present, enter the " transition " subroutine at 830. If the message does not exist, check the "wait for" flag at 832. When the "wait object" flag is set, it means that the object code is stored in the memory 118 of the RCU 800, and the RCU is waiting for the requested object. At 834 the microcontroller 114 compares the received object code with the stored object code, and if both are the same, at 836 the microcontroller 114 uses the MPEG-4 decoder 116 of FIG. 6 to receive the received object data. To decode and reset the "wait for" flag at 838. The received object is then displayed on screen 122 of FIG. 6 at 840, and the step returns to 802.

On the other hand, if the received object code and the stored object code are not the same, then at 842 the microcontroller 114 processes the new object, that is, the new title. If the "Object Wait" flag is not set at 832, the microcontroller 114 also processes the new title. The microcontroller 114 decodes the new title at 844, trims the title for display at 846, displays the title using the MPEG-4 decoder 116 at 848, and the step returns to 802.

Claims (15)

  1. A device for remote control of a multimedia device,
    The device,
    Processing a first data signal comprising data encoded in a first format indicative of the availability of information related to the event, and a second data signal comprising data encoded in a second format to indicate the event Means for receiving via a first communication medium from the multimedia device, the multimedia device providing second data signal content to a main display;
    Means for processing the first data signal encoded in the first format and providing data to a user on a display of the device indicating the availability of additional information related to the event;
    Means for sending a request for the additional information related to the event from the user to the multimedia device via a second communication medium
    Including,
    The first data signal is embedded in the second data signal, and wherein the content of the first data signal is not in the second data signal content on the main display.
  2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the data included in the first data signal encoded in the first data format comprises data encoded in MPEG-4 format.
  3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first and second communication media comprises a wireless communication channel utilizing at least one of RF and infrared signals.
  4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the device further comprises a screen, wherein the first data signal received from the multimedia device comprises data representing an object associated with the event, wherein the first data signal is configured to process the first data signal. The means comprises means for displaying the object on the screen.
  5. 5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the means for processing the first data signal received from the multimedia device comprises an MPEG-4 decoder, and wherein the object that can be displayed is encoded in MPEG-4 format upon reception. A device decoded by the MPEG-4 decoder.
  6. 6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the means for transmitting information from the user to the multimedia device comprises means for receiving information from the user in response to the display of the object.
  7. 7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the means for receiving information from a user comprises means for detecting a user touching an area of the screen corresponding to the display of the object.
  8. The method of claim 1,
    The data included in the first data signal and encoded in the first format comprises data encoded in MPEG-4 format,
    The means for processing the first data signal comprises an MPEG-4 decoder,
    The means for transmitting information from a user comprises a touch-screen screen for displaying an object decoded by the MPEG-4 decoder from the first data signal,
    The means for transmitting information from a user is adapted to send a request to the multimedia device for additional information about the displayed object in response to activation of an area of the touchscreen screen corresponding to the displayed object.
  9. 9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the means for receiving information receives the additional information about the displayed object in response to the request sent for additional information and displays the additional information on the screen. Device.
  10. 10. The method of claim 9, wherein the first data signal comprises data representing a plurality of objects encoded in MPEG-4 format, many of the objects becoming invalid over time,
    The means for processing the first data signal comprises means for deleting the invalid object in response to a user activating a portion of the touch-screen screen corresponding to the invalid object.
  11. A first telecommunications unit according to claim 1, wherein said means for receiving said first data signal, said means for processing said first data signal, and said means for transmitting said request for additional information is a first telecommunication unit. Wherein the first telecommunications unit is in bidirectional communication with both the multimedia device and the second telecommunications unit.
  12. 12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein each of the first and second telecommunications units is adapted to store respective identification codes that enable the multimedia device to address each telecommunications unit, respectively. Device comprising a.
  13. 13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein each of the first and second telecommunication units transmits information to the multimedia device and prevents data from being simultaneously transmitted from the first and second telecommunication units to the multimedia device. Each of the first and second telecommunication units communicating with another one of the first and second telecommunication units.
  14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the communication between the first and second telecommunication units and the communication between the telecommunication unit and the multimedia device are via a wireless communication medium comprising one of RF and infrared light.
  15. 15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein each of the first and second telecommunication units comprises respective first and second screens for displaying respective first and second objects on respective first and second screens. and,
    The first and second telecommunications units make respective first and second requests for additional information in response to the respective first and second user selecting the displayed first and second objects. Send,
    Each of the first and second telecommunication units receives the same additional information and displays the additional information on each of the screens at different times, thereby between the first and second telecommunication units. Providing a time-shifted display of said additional information.
KR1020047001930A 2001-08-08 2002-08-07 Mpeg-4 remote communication device KR100918130B1 (en)

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US60/311,044 2001-08-08
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CN1539241A (en) 2004-10-20
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